Muammar Qaddafi loyalists seize Libyan town

The retaking of Bani Walid comes as Libya's new leaders have struggled to unify the oil-rich North African nation three months after Qaddafi was captured and killed.

Ismail Zitouny/Reuters
A vehicle for fighters with Libya's interim government patrols in front of a damaged building in Bani Walid last October.

Muammar Qaddafi loyalists have seized control of a Libyan town and raised the ousted regime's green flag, an official and commander said Tuesday.

The retaking of Bani Walid comes as Libya's new leaders have struggled to unify the oil-rich North African nation three months after Qaddafi was captured and killed.

Hundreds of well-equipped and highly trained remnants of Qaddafi forces raised the green flag over buildings in the western city late Monday after hours of clashes, said Mubarak al-Fatamni, the head of Bani Walid local council.

Al-Fatamni, who fled to the nearby city of Misrata following the attack, said four revolutionary fighters were killed and 25 others were wounded. He said the Libyan Defense Ministry has not sent any forces to the area.

A top commander of a revolutionary brigade in Bani Walid, Ali al-Fatamni, who was present in Benghazi during the attack, says he has lost contact with other fighters in the town.

The bold attacks, which have led authorities to declare states of emergency in several areas, are the latest breakdown in security, three months after Qaddafi capture and killing. Protests have surged in recent weeks, with people demanding that the interim leaders deliver on promises of transparency and compensation for those injured in the fighting.

Bani Walid, 90 miles (140 kilometers) southeast of Tripoli, was one of the last Qaddafi strongholds to fall to revolutionary forces amid a months-long civil war. Gadhafi's son and longtime heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, was long believed to have been hiding in the town.

Seif al-Islam, who has been charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, was captured in November by fighters from the town of Zintan in Libya's western mountains, who continue to hold him.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.